Lewis Hamilton backs ‘peaceful’ protests at British Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton backs ‘peaceful’ protests at British Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton has said he would welcome a protest from Just Stop Oil campaigners at this weekend’s British Grand Prix.

The climate activists targeted Wimbledon on Wednesday and have caused disruption at the Lord’s Ashes Test, the Premiership rugby final and the World Snooker Championship so far this year.

Asked ahead of Sunday’s race, if he would support a protest which did not involve people invading the track, Hamilton said: “Yes. I support peaceful protests.”

Five people invaded last year’s British Grand Prix after they stormed the Wellington Straight – the fastest point of the Northamptonshire track – before sitting down during the opening lap.

The contest had already been suspended following Alfa Romeo driver Zhou Guanyu’s high-speed crash, but a number of cars sped by the group before they were dragged away by marshals. The protesters were handed suspended jail sentences in March.

Silverstone has worked alongside Northamptonshire Police to beef up security ahead of this year’s event, with a record 480,000 people expected to attend over the weekend, and 150,000 fans in place for the race.

Seven-time world champion Hamilton added: “We are hoping we have learnt from the experience (of last year).

“We have 100 more marshals this weekend which will be supportive to make sure it doesn’t happen.

“From my perspective, and my teams’ perspective, we are focused on sustainability and we believe in what people (the protesters) are fighting for and we are making those changes as a sport.

“But safety is key. We don’t want to put them in harm’s way and we don’t want to put anyone else in harm’s way. If there was to be one (a protest) we hope it is not on track.”

Earlier this week, McLaren driver Lando Norris told Just Stop Oil campaigners that they would be “stupid and selfish” to put lives in danger by protesting

But Williams’ London-born Alex Albon believes an attack is likely. “There is a high chance of something happening this week,” he said.

“It is a concern because a pitch invasion is one thing but with cars and moving parts it gets a bit more dangerous to some extent.”